CBS Dropping All-News Is A Bad Sign

The decision to remove all-news-all-the-time from WNEW-FM, Washington doesn’t bode well for CBS Radio or the rest of the radio industry.

WNEW only wanted a sliver of what Hubbard’s WTOP takes out of the market (WTOP is the highest billing radio station in the country).

Instead, today’s CBS didn’t have the patience that Westinghouse had in the 1960’s when it stuck to all-news as expensive as it was in a stubborn belief that the payoff would come.

Radio One dumped out of all-news in Houston after a few years – a bold experiment, again a three-year experiment is commendable, but not the patience to reengineer the all-news format.

When CBS turns its DC FM news operation into WBZ, Boston or KRLD, Dallas you know more bad things are on the way.

Add to that the expected change at the top this year when a new radio president could be appointed -- Dan Mason is reportedly mulling retirement.

And then there is Les Moonves’ public pledge to sell off one-third of their non-essential radio stations.

So you see the large radio group that is the gold standard by which others are judged is setting a much lower standard.

I know what you’re thinking – some gold standard when you’re coming out ahead of the likes of iHeart, Cumulus and Entercom. Okay, you’re right, but still.

Mason has done a pretty good job considering that CBS has turned into the planet of the bean counters. And Scott Herman is as good a news exec as you can get. I don’t think in his heart of hearts he wanted to bail on another all-news station to turn it into news-talk.

And watch. Bet the “talk” part is syndicated not local, cheap – the kind that makes these bean counters cream their --- well, you know.

I’m seeing a rough ride ahead for CBS Radio.

It’s still for sale.

How will a Dan Mason replacement run radio?

Cheap programming on the way – and cutbacks to coincide especially in certain areas.

Partnering with Cumulus, one of the sketchiest companies in all of radio.

No wonder Mason is thinking about retirement.

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